Best Overall Restaurant - River Cafe

By Diana Ng // Friday 9th of September, 2016 // 8:02 AM

With 25 years behind it, River Café has not only been a part of, but led, the growth in Calgary’s culinary scene. While it has become a fixture of sorts in the city, it’s by no means reserved or timid. In fact, its idyllic setting, ever-evolving and innovative cuisine, rigorous dedication to its fundamental philosophy of sustainability and commitment to outstanding hospitality have made it one of the best places in Calgary to impress locals and out of town friends alike.

While local Calgarians enjoy the festivals and outdoor activities that Prince’s Island Park and the Bow River offer, out of guests – whether in town for business or pleasure – must make it a point to indulge in the unparalleled views and authentic Canadian cuisine at River Café. From the walk along the river through towering trees, to discovering the fishing lodge exterior of the restaurant, to tasting award-winning local and seasonal cuisine using ingredients that represent Alberta’s terroir, the entire experience is authentically Western Canadian.

“We challenge ourselves because we use sustainability as decision-making tool in everything that we do,” says Sal Howell, proprietor of River Cafe.

The interior of the restaurant is furnished with reclaimed and found objects that reflect the Canadian Rockies, like the birch bark canoe that hangs from its rafters. A good restaurant may serve a hummus made from scratch, with imported high quality olive oil, imported all-natural tahini and chickpeas; but River Café takes the dish to the next level with red lentils and camelina oil from the Canadian Prairies, and Okanagan-grown sumac and house vinegar in place of lemon juice. Where typical restaurants will feature local pork from a producer, River Café thinks about the rest of it, using Vancouver Island salt, a more expensive choice that reflects its commitment to eating locally.

How’s that for a uniquely and authentically Canadian experience?